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Necroling (Dread Codex Monster)

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Necroling
Size/Type: Tiny Undead
Hit Dice: 4d12 (26 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: Fly 30 feet (perfect)
Armor Class: 22 (+2 size, +7 Dex, +3 natural), touch 19, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/-2
Attack: Tiny short sword +11 melee (1d3+4)
Full Attack: Tiny short sword +11 melee (1d3+4) and bite +6 melee (1 and sleep)
Space/Reach: 2-0.5 ½ ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Sleep Bite
Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 5/good, Smoke Form, Retreat, Vanishing Bottle, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +8, Will +4
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 25, Con —, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Escape Artist +14, Hide +22, Listen +3, Move Silently +14, Search +4, Sense Motive +5, Spot +3
Feats: Dodge, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Any land
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement:
Level Adjustment:

The form of this inky black creature can be seen only when it pauses its flight—a wispy humanoid upper body clad in tattered sheets of midnight. A funnel of darkness comprises the lower body, its tip marking the creature's trail as far back as you can see. Two pinpricks of white radiance flash in its eye sockets before striking.

The necroling is the heritage of all necromancers. Each student of the black arts is required to create a necroling of his own before more potent spells and powers are available to him. The necroling, commonly forgotten by the caster, is then used to guard his laboratory or other precious possessions.

Designed so the necromancer can experience the feelings associated with death and rebirth as undead, the necroling is created with the spark of a soul who died unnaturally. The necromancer essentially puts a sliver of the angry soul inside its own tiny sarcophagus (in this case an ink bottle) after imbibing the emotions it experienced at death by way of dreams. The necroling is content to simply exist, holding some perverted sense of gratitude for the necromancer for extending its "life" even in this fashion.

Combat Edit

Although necrolings are not the most imposing creatures, they can make terrifying combatants. They dart around with incredible speed, which grants them surprising reach for their size, biting at foes in order to incapacitate them before slashing with their tiny swords. Necrolings are inordinately strong for their tiny stature.

A necroling can travel up to 100 feet from its bottle, always connected by a small tether of smoke (which can be disrupted without injuring the necroling, although the necroling senses the disturbance). Some necromancers who command necrolings wear the bottles at their waists, releasing the creatures to aid them in combat.

The only way to destroy a necroling is to smash the bottle. Due to its magical construction, such a vessel is treated as having hardness 10, with 10 hit points, and a Break DC of 26.

Sleep Bite (Su): Anyone bitten by a necroling must make a successful DC 12 Fortitude save or fall into a deep slumber for 10d6 minutes.

Smoke Form (Ex): Necrolings can turn gaseous at will, as if by the gaseous form spell cast by a 4th-level sorcerer.

Retreat (Su): When a necroling is reduced to 0 hit points, it is not destroyed; instead, it automatically and instantaneously becomes gaseous, teleports into its bottle, and pulls in the stopper. After 24 hours, it returns to full strength and may once again exit its bottle.

Vanishing Bottle (Su): Three times per night, as a standard action, a necroling may teleport its bottle up to 300 feet away; this functions as the vanish spell, except the necroling need not touch its bottle, there is no chance of the bottle being disintegrated, and the bottle cannot be sent to the Ethereal Plane. When the bottle teleports, the necroling travels with it. Of course, if the necroling perceives an attack directed at its bottle, it usually activates the bottle's vanishing power to escape. The necroling has usually scouted out the surrounding area to find the most innocuous locations to hide its bottle in the event of an emergency (wine cellars and gutters are favorites).

Treasure Edit

None — The necroling's size and the place it calls home are both too small for treasure keeping. The creature's very nature omits the desire for treasure but that same nature means that it is never very far from a necromancer's laboratory. PCs that encounter a necroling and know what it is can deduce that the lab—and thus a room stocked with rare and expensive materials—is not far away. Hopefully the necromancer isn't home…

In Your Campaign Edit

So what starts a spellcaster on the road to becoming a necromancer? Are they all power-hungry wizards who cherish the dead more than the living? As with all things, the answer to such questions lies with the individual. If you do not have some kind of established necromantic lore in your campaign, you might want to use the necroling as a starting point for curious characters to learn about. For while no two people will give the same answer for entering necromantic studies, necroling creation is the standard by which all in the field are measured. Any spellcaster can focus their efforts on the school of necromancy and call themselves necromancers but only those truly worthy of the title create necrolings. Let's look a little closer at necroling construction. A spellcaster requires the following: Craft Wondrous Item feat, a corpse of someone who died unnaturally no longer than a day ago, a vial filled with black ink, consecutive casting of sleep, gaseous form, dimension door, and detect thoughts on the ink vial, and finally the drawing of the necromantic glyph of undeath on the corpse's forehead (requires a DC 12 Knowledge (arcana) check). Once the spells have been cast and the glyph drawn, the necromancer must sleep next to the body for 8 hours with the enspelled ink vial on the other side. During the slumber, the necromancer imbibes the thoughts and feelings the corpse's soul endured at the point of death. The spellcaster learns in vivid mind-wrenching detail what it means to cross the barrier from life into death. At the same time, the ink vial absorbs the last wisp of spirit before it leaves the corpse. This wisp becomes the necroling's mind while the ink is used when the creature manifests a physical body.

Necromancer and necroling are not bonded, as such, when he wakens but there is a definite connection between the two. The necroling intuitively recognizes the necromancer as having touched a piece of its former mind and desires to remain close to that presence. The necromancer gains a permanent black stain right below the back of his neck. What this stain does is mark him as a true necromancer. He has experienced what it is to die and understands the very nature of undeath in the creature he has created. The mark also identifies him to other "true" necromancers, perhaps thereby gaining access to secretive cults or information. Undertaking necroling creation is a wholly evil act since the character is ripping part of a person's soul from its rightful rest and forcing it into eternal servitude. You can use the information presented here to warn PCs who consider becoming true necromancers.

However, those who do fashion necrolings also find themselves in a position to take previously unknown feats (see below). Each of the three feats capitalizes on the unique knowledge gained by necroling creation.

New Feats Edit

SMW::off Augment Animations {{#set:Type=General}} Summary::Your animated undead are more powerful than normal. Prerequisites: {{#arraymap: Created a Necroling|,|x|Prerequisite::x}}Benefit: Undead you create through your spells (animate dead, create undead, etc.) gain +1 hit point per die and a +1 competence bonus on attack and damage rolls.SMW::on SMW::off Strengthen Undead {{#set:Type=General}} Summary::You can use arcane energy to protect undead from being turned. Prerequisites: {{#arraymap: Created a Necroling, Spellcraft ranks 12+|,|x|Prerequisite::x}}Benefit: Choose a spell of 2nd-level or greater. As a standard action, you channel its energies to a single undead creature you can see. The energy grants a turn resistance of +1 per 2 spell levels used (round down, maximum of +4). An undead creature cannot be strengthened in this manner more than once in a 24 hour period.SMW::on SMW::off Undead Sensitivity {{#set:Type=General}} Summary::Special intimacy with the undead gives you a special sight to detect their presence. Physically, the whites of your eyes turn an inky black. Prerequisites: {{#arraymap: Created a Necroling|,|x|Prerequisite::x}}Benefit: At will, you can detect undead (as the spell).SMW::on



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